Women in Ghana
Develop with little money
Out of artful ideas
Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh received the 2006 Nobel Peace Price for his ideas. As the founder of a small bank for micro-credit, he has given many people the opportunity to build a reliable livelihood for themselves.
The poor received a small credit as their first remittance – for a shop, a small husbandry (farming) or business. If they are able to pay back, they then receive a new credit to enable them carry out some expansion on their operations. The learned economics scholar Yunus has through his Grameen Bank brought back to life a new principle that 150 years ago Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen had already used in Germany to help farmers: Self-Help and solidarity.
Muhammad Yunus has also proved in his book "Die Armut besiegen" (Overcoming Poverty) that to a great extent, the poor are more reliable when it comes to paying back their small credits or loans than the customers of other banks. They apply the three digits, at most four digits amounts and work resolutely to reach the top. That succeeds very well, especially when they form groups because they would then be in the position to offer each other mutual support and control when the need arises. And that is what 97 % of the women do.
The Grameen Bank has observed that women behave differently than men when it comes to the use of the money received – the women do not use the money for themselves but rather on the family and its future. Besides, most women in the developing countries hardly take alcohol, and only a few smoke, therefore do not fall into the temptation of wasting the borrowed money in the cities. In his book, Yunus described how desperately poor women who have benefited from the micro-credits have developed artful business ideas, and within a short time one of them secured livelihood income generating domestic economies.
Women support the programme
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana, follows the same Principle. They have developed a small credit programme a few years ago in the Volta Region through which they give take-off assistance. Also here, 90 % of the money goes to women. They form a group, save a specific amount and then receive some credit at the current interest rate and guarantee for each other. They don’t first of all have to think of the "normal" banks which are not interested in such mini-businesses and the money-lenders demand excessive interest rates. The demand for the micro-credit is so great that the Church wants to widen the programme. To meet the growing demand, the Church itself needs capital. The North German Mission (Bremen Mission) is therefore collecting donations to pass on to the partner church in Ghana.
In August 2008 the "Spiegel"–author, Nathalie Kluver, in her report has given a vivid account of what such a credit can do for an energetic woman. (Spiegel – Online, 31. August 2008): It is the story about Sinina Adbena (Abena), who was able to help herself because she obtained a mall credit in the beginning and this helped her. She was faced with the big question: What would become of us? She was a single parent and was faced with the problem of raising up and feeding six children alone because the husband had called it quits. This courageous woman learnt that there was the possibility of accessing a micro-credit. She availed herself of that opportunity, took the first step and established a small store around the corner (Tante-Emma-Laden) where almost all the essential commodities were sold in her village with a population of 300. She is in the process of establishing a bar beside her store.
She punctually paid back her credit, laid some money aside to enable her finance her children’s education. She has learnt from the accompanying training course that: Without exact planning and a careful book keeping, the store wouldn’t have been running. One must know how to fill application and other forms. One must be clear on what one wants and what one does not.
In the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana, one knows many Sinina Adbenas – but the Church needs assistance to enable the Church give the necessary support.